Set in rural Virginia over World War II, this coming-of-age novel centers on young Margaret Ann Motley, middle child in a large family who is about to be granted her heart’s desire: her own room, as an older sister goes off to college. But her joy is short-lived as an aunt and cousin come seeking refuge during the London blitz. The beautiful cousin Courtney becomes everyone’s favorite and Margaret Ann’s nemesis.
Soon life is disrupted even further as time and the war bring many more changes to the household: a beloved brother enlists in the navy, a sister marries, and loses her husband to the war, a cantankerous grandmother has a stroke, and her brother’s new wife takes over the room. But new life enters the family, too, and a boyfriend proves steadfast to Margaret Ann and her father’s farm.
Told in first person by a narrator so self-absorbed that she can’t tell her own twin sisters apart for years, Homefront becomes a long, slow slog to maturity through her eyes. Still, the characterizations are strong and many scenes compelling. The catalyst for change is the growing friendship Margaret Ann forms with her English cousin, which, although welcome, was not fully convincing. Ages 11 and up.